By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) has raised serious concerns over the alleged involvement of Dr. Abass Bundu, the Speaker of Parliament, in aiding and abetting corruption within the Sierra Leone Parliament. In a Press Release dated January 14, 2024, and signed by Alhaji K Tarawally, the Ag. Deputy Secretary-General of the NGC, the party expressed dismay at the perceived lack of action by Dr. Bundu in response to corruption allegations against Paran Tarawally, the Clerk of Parliament.
The NGC accuses Dr. Abass Bundu of failing to take decisive disciplinary measures against Paran Tarawally, who is facing corruption charges brought forth by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The NGC finds it deeply troubling that, despite the severity of the allegations, the Parliament’s leadership has not taken concrete steps to address the issue, raising questions about the institution’s commitment to integrity, accountability, and transparency.
This incident is not the first of its kind, as the NGC points to a previous occurrence in October 2020, where two parliamentary whistleblowers, Hon. Hindolo Moiwo Gevao and Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, were suspended from Parliamentary Committee Proceedings after raising concerns about corruption within Parliament during interviews with the BBC and Radio Democracy. The NGC argues that these actions and inactions reveal a systemic problem within the Sierra Leone Parliament, where those reporting corruption are penalized, while wrongdoers seemingly escape accountability.
The NGC calls on Dr. Abass Bundu to exhibit decisive leadership by initiating immediate, transparent, and impartial investigations into the corruption allegations against the Clerk of Parliament. The party emphasizes the importance of upholding the highest standards of integrity and accountability within the legislative organ of government.
Furthermore, the NGC urges the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone to reconsider its approach to corruption cases, advocating for a shift from treating such acts as civil offenses to classifying them as criminal offenses. The party argues that this change is necessary to ensure that individuals, irrespective of their connections or privileges, face appropriate punitive measures, including imprisonment, for their involvement in corruption.
In conclusion, the NGC emphasizes the need for a Parliament that encourages whistleblowers to come forward without fear of reprisal. The party asserts that a transparent and accountable Parliament is crucial for promoting democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone. The NGC reiterates its commitment to fostering a Sierra Leone where transparency, integrity, and accountability prevail across all levels of government, including the Parliament.